DELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 26: A general view of the Volvo logo ahead of the V8 Supercars Clipsal 500 at Adelaide Street Circuit on February 26, 2015 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo : Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)
Warning: the video may induce some degree of wincing.
What was supposed to be a safety demonstration turned out to be a lesson on never being too sure about safety, especially when it concerns standing still in a moving car's path.
Volvo recently held a demo of its new Pedestrian Detection feature, which was supposedly equipped to a new XC60, in the Dominican Republic. However, the car, instead of stopping as soon as it detected a pedestrian in its path, plowed right into the onlookers at the event. The whole incident was caught on video.
"The 30-second video shows the XC60 slowly backing up, stopping for a few seconds, then surging toward participants and hitting two of them head-on," Digital Trends said. "The two men were 'bruised but OK.'"
"Pedestrian Detection uses a small grille-mounted radar and a high-definition camera to scope out the road ahead," the tech news site explained. "At speeds of up to 30 mph, it automatically applies the brakes if it detects that the car is about to hit a pedestrian or someone on a bicycle."
So, what happened back there? Why didn't the car stop?
According to CNN Money, Volvo said that the dealer was only demonstrating the XC60's City Safety system, not the Pedestrian Detection system. The former "helps avoid or mitigate rear end collisions with other vehicles at low speeds" but cannot detect pedestrians.
The Independent noted that the "City Safe" mode was reportedly not turned on during the controversial demo.
Volvo, however, added that even if Pedestrian Detection was installed, it still is not safe to purposely drive the vehicle into a group of people.
"In the video, the driver would anyway override any active safety system since he is actively accelerating towards to pedestrians," Stefan Elfström, Volvo's spokesperson, pointed out to CNN Money. "I would like to emphasize that Volvo Cars strongly recommends never to perform any tests towards real humans, only dummies or similar objects should be used."
Does this mean that the dealer in question was due for a reprimand of some sort?
The representative revealed that the automaker had contacted sales reps for the said market and "are now looking into necessary actions to avoid something similar happening in the future."
Will this incident affect Volvo sales? We'll know in a couple of months. For now, it looks like the dealer in question will have to manage the backlash that may come in the wake of the incident.